While our dogs are without a doubt an integral part of the family, we tend to think of their diets as being completely separate to our own. Besides the occasional scrap that might get passed under the dinner table or sausage that gets stolen from the barbecue platter, we have our food and they have theirs.
But it just so happens that the ancestral diets of dogs isn’t all that different to our own dietary requirements. Aside from possessing a digestive system thats more efficient at digesting meat and proteins, the digestive tract of a dog isn’t all that different to our own. This means that a lot of the foods we eat are also safe for them to eat too. Not only that, those foods can help your dog to achieve optimum health.
The fact that most conventional dog foods are laden with toxic ingredients makes it all the more important to supplement your dog’s diet with certain healthy foods. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of human foods that your dog will not only love eating, but will support their health and happiness as well.
Carrots are positively loaded with healthy compounds and phytochemicals, from beta-carotene (a precursor to the essential vitamin A) to loads of digestion-promoting fiber. Not only that, the thick, crunchy texture of carrots is great for removing plaque from your dog’s teeth as they chew happily away, thereby promoting optimum dental health.
Be sure not to give your dog too many carrots, however, as too much beta carotene can eventually lead to health complications.
2. Cold-water fish
You’ll often see conventional dog food products claiming to contain “real salmon!” but when you look at the ingredients that salmon might only be a tiny proportion of the product, and that salmon is undoubtedly highly processed besides.
But there’s no doubt that salmon and other cold-water fatty fish are healthy for both you and your dog, so the simple solution is to feed your dog actual chunks of salmon or other fish from the chilly deeps.
Why are cold water fish so darn good for your dog? Well, for starters, they contain bucketloads of omega-3 fatty acids – a group of fats essential for anything from lowering inflammation to supporting healthy cardiovascular function. Cold water fish like wild salmon also have very high levels of lean protein, which is an essential component of a healthy canine diet.
In spite of what your nutritionist might have told you 20 years ago, eggs are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. In fact, eggs sourced from pasture-raised, organic chickens are one of the most complete foods on earth, making them a great human food that your dog can also eat.
Feeding your pooch several eggs a week will ensure they get plenty of biotin, a vitamin that’s vital for cellular growth and fatty acid metabolism. Eggs also contain loads of high-absorption protein, lots of heart-health saturated fat, and nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin which have been shown to prevent age-related macular degeneration.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but real chicken is a far cry from the kind of “chicken” you’ll likely find in your average container of dog food. Giving your dog the occasional de-boned chunk of chicken will provide a decent amount of protein, a small amount of healthy fat and gelatin from the skin, and the amino acid glucosamine, which has been shown to promote healthy bones.
Be sure to give your dog only cooked chicken, as raw chicken can contain high levels of salmonella – a pathogenic bacteria that your dog may or may not be immune to..but it’s not worth the risk! Also make sure there’s no bones in the chicken you feed your dog, as they can become a choking hazard.
You might think that pumpkin is only good for making jack-o-lanterns or shoving into pies, but there’s actually a lot of nutrition (and taste!) that both you and your dog can gain from eating pumpkin.
Feeding your pooch a little cooked pumpkin every day (hint: they can eat every part of the pumpkin, including the seeds and skin) will ensure they get plenty of fiber, a wide range of vitamins and minerals, and a decent amount of beta carotene – the antioxidant that gives pumpkin it’s characteristic orange color. Pumpkin seeds also contain cucurbatin, an anti-parasitic amino acid that can help to cure your dog of worms!
W. Elaine Hardman; Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Augment Cancer Therapy, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 132, Issue 11, 1 November 2002, Pages 3508S–3512S, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/132.11.3508S
Lutein and Zeaxanthin Status and Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 44(6):2461.
Díaz obregón D, Lloja lozano L, Carbajal zúñiga V. [Preclinical studies of cucurbita maxima (pumpkin seeds) a traditional intestinal antiparasitic in rural urban areas]. Rev Gastroenterol Peru. 2004;24(4):323-7.